Long before Survivor, Jacka** or other extreme reality shows appeared on the scene, pilots were performing stunning acts of aerial bravery for over a century. To celebrate this tradition and to showcase their own skills, McConnell Air Force Base is throwing its doors open to the public the weekend of September 29 and 30 during Wings Over McConnell, its bi-annual open house and airshow. (This open house alternates each year with The Wichita Flight Festival at Jabara Airport.)
The original daredevils will paint the sky with corkscrews of white smoke, stunt pilots will fly inverted, burst high into the atmosphere then plummet in heart-stopping nosedives, wing walkers will perform death-defying high-wing acts and WWII dogfights will roar to life overhead.
The Jayhawk Wing of the Commemorative Air Force will be represented by a UC-78 Bobcat (the “Bamboo Bomber”) and a Fairchild PT-23, says Phyllis Sears, CAF Finance Officer.
“I love the sound of those engines,” she says. One year she and a friend were sitting in front of half a dozen running B-25’s, bombers with twin radial engines. “The ground was just vibrating… We felt like in some ways we actually got to experience a little bit of what it might have been like on an air base during WWII.”
Other acts included in the lineup are: Man vs. Jumbo Jet, a P-40 vs. Zero dogfight, stunt pilot Jason Newburg: Franklin’s Flying Circus, and the Flash Fire Jet Truck, according to Master Sergeant Ron Flack, Superintendent Public Affairs.
“There are things you see at the military air shows that are close enough to their actual practice during wartime — it’s just cool to see all of that stuff.” — Phyllis Sears, CAF Finance Officer
There will also be flybys throughout the weekend by a KC-135 Stratotanker, a B-1 show of force, the CAF Red Tail Squadron and many more. To see the birds up close and personal check out the static displays of civilian and military aircraft — and even Army National Guard tanks.